How to Pack 72-Hour Emergency Bags for Infants
This Is Only a Test . . .
Finding information about what you need in an adult emergency kit is simple, but what if you have small children? What supplies do you need to make sure EVERYONE in your family is safe and prepared for the unexpected? Let's explore beyond the flashlights and ponchos that you already know about and talk about how you can ensure the safety of your most precious possession: your baby.
What You Need for the Bag
Infants from 0–12 months will need the following:
- 3 quarts (32 ounces) of formula
- 15 cloth diapers (pre-folded are easiest)
- 5 one-size diaper covers
- 12 washcloths or clean rags for diaper messes
- 2 small packs of wet wipes
- 3 individual 13-gallon garbage bags
- 4 bottles
- All required medication (and some optional ones—see tips below)
- 1 body baby carrier or body wrap
- 1 small jar Vaseline (can be used for diaper rash)
- 6 outfits (rotated out seasonally)
- 6 pairs of socks
- 1 or 2 pairs of shoes (only if walking)
- Identification tags and stickers
- 200 Latex gloves
- A few comfort items
- 2 swaddling blankets
- 1 season-appropriate blanket
- 6 burp cloths
Why Pack Only These Things?
When you think about baby basics, so many things come to mind that it can be difficult to narrow down what you really need. In emergencies, the best action is to simplify and focus solely on the most critical things to keep your little one safe: food, hygiene, and safety.
Basic Need 1: Food (Caloric Needs)
Your baby needs about 500 to 850 calories per day, depending on gender, age, activity level, and size.
- When your baby is 3 months old or younger, she needs about 116 calories per her body weight in kilograms a day (116 calories per 2.2 lbs.).
- Between 3 months to 12 months old, she needs about 100 calories per kilogram (2.2 lbs.) a day.
Each quart (32 oz.) of formula should be enough to last at least 24 hours.
You can determine your child's average caloric needs by referring to the USDA guidelines for infant nutrition and calories.
Formula mix that is stored in paper cans or in plastic bins must be changed regularly to avoid expiring or being contaminated by pests. Paper and plastic containers can be damaged more easily than other kinds of materials, and water damage is also possible. Keep this in mind when you are storing formula for the long term. (Review my article on making emergency baby formula using evaporated milk, which is linked down below.)
Basic Need 2: Hygiene
Emergencies often will remind of us of how much we miss our creature comforts, but keeping clean keeps us healthy and safe, so these items are critical for every emergency bag.
- Pre-soaped washcloths from the baby aisle or wet wipes can help with bathing your baby. Use wet wipes for times when you do not have access to clean water. Make sure you have a warm outfit to switch into after the wipe down. A sleep sack can be perfect for smaller children, keeping them warm and safe.
- Boil soiled rags or washcloths for 10 minutes to kill any bacteria resting on them. Air drying for a few hours in the sun will give an extra dose of disinfectant! Keep yourself healthy by using disposable latex gloves whenever handling dirty diapers or clothes.
- Garbage bags are great for storing soiled diapers and wipes. Keep all soiled clothes in one bag, all garbage in another bag, and save the last bag for a multitude of uses, including as a waterproof rain poncho.
Non-Essential (But Helpful!) Medicine Needs
You should rotate all medicines seasonally to make sure nothing has expired and lost its effectiveness.
Non-essential medicines you may want to include:
- 1 bottle earache drops
- 1 small bottle of VapoRub
- 1 bottle saline drops
- 1 thermometer
- 1 baby-safe bug repellent
- 1 baby-safe sunblock
- 1 bottle liquid baby vitamins
- 1 bottle gas relief drops
- 1 baby medicine dropper and BPA-free plastic container.
Basic Need 3: Safety and Security
A baby carrier is necessary. If you can baby-wear, you will never worry about losing your child or not being able to traverse a location. Remember: Strollers may be unusable, so baby-wearing is the next best thing. You may also consider using a backpack carrier, depending on the type of emergency bag you choose to use.
ID for Baby
When your child is too young to provide crucial contact information, you will need portable identification for them. You can use a variety of solutions, such as temporary tattoos, shoe tags, disposable identification bracelets, Velcro bracelets, and even a good old Sharpie is an option.
Pack Your Bag, and Stay Safe!
Follow these tips to keep your sanity and keep your baby happy and healthy. Always remember that you have the most important thing for any emergency: boundless love.
Stay safe and stay healthy!
How to Make Emergency Baby Formula
- Emergency Baby Formula Recipe
Out of baby formula? Hungry child? Use evaporated whole milk as a temporary substitute to safely feed your child and buy you a little time to get to the store.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2020 Teresa Gabbiani